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Back-to-school checkups are an opportunity to keep kids up to date with their vaccines. This is especially important now during a pandemic. A delay in a wellness checkup can mean missed shots. In fact, the number of vaccines ordered has dropped since the COVID-19 outbreak began. If the community falls behind on vaccines, we could have outbreaks of infectious diseases we had under control.
It’s also extra important to get the flu shot this year since the symptoms can be similar to those of COVID-19.
We need everyone’s participation with immunizations to achieve and maintain herd immunity. Herd immunity helps protect people who can’t get vaccines themselves because of underlying health conditions or allergies. If nearly everyone else in their community is immune through vaccination, those who can’t be immunized are less likely to be exposed to a vaccine-preventable disease.
It is both in your self-interest and an act of generosity to get vaccinated because you’re protecting both yourself and others when you do so.
Vaccines have been researched extensively. We have a significant amount of data showing that they are very safe and effective. You can fact-check claims you hear in the media by looking at a reputable source like the CDC or talking to your healthcare provider about any concerns.
Babies get several shots in their first 18 months, but school-aged kids need them too. Kindergarteners and 11-year-olds each get a series of vaccines.
We can check the Washington State Immunization Information System (WA-IIS) for your child’s records, but we don’t have access to databases of other states. We are happy to request records from your child’s previous provider at the time of your appointment.
Not many people enjoy getting shots. Kids are the same.
I also recommend being honest with kids about what to expect. Most vaccines result in a quick, pinching pain. Setting this expectation with your child ahead of time can help to relieve fear of the unknown. Avoid telling your child that getting a vaccine won’t hurt as this is unlikely to be the case. Unexpectedly experiencing pain may increase your child’s anxiety around health care providers and medical procedures in the future. Remind your child of the benefit: added protection against getting sick.
Annalee Wilson is a nurse practitioner at the North Spokane Care Center. She grew up in Spokane, went to WSU for her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing, and spent 8 years working in a family practice in north Idaho. Annalee is passionate about helping patients build their health from the ground up.About Annalee Wilson, ARNP
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